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Deception in Computer-Mediated Communication


Why do people lie? The reasons are as varied as human life itself, but there is almost always a reason, and these reasons can be categorized in a variety of ways. St. Augustine, for example, classified lies into eight types of varying severity. Modern psychology has produced smaller taxonomies. In the influential self-presentational framework of deception (DePaulo, Lindsay, et al. 2003; Vrij 2008a), people lie to enhance or protect their own self-image (self-oriented), their partner’s (partneroriented), or some third party (altruistic). According to this view, most everyday conversational lies are part of an effort to manage interactions with others and achieve self-presentational goals (Goffman 1959). Other lies, like those associated with scandals or crime, may be less about self-presentation goals and more about seeking material rewards or avoiding prosecution, but lies are still a means to accomplishing something in the world.

J.T. Hancock
A. Gonzales
Handbook of Pragmatics of Computer-Mediated Communication. Berlin, Germany: Mouton de Gruyter
Publication Date
January 1, 2013